Adding costs to data models in infrastructure design
When infrastructure is designed using a digital data model, the data is not always transferred seamlessly from one software application to another. The project developed a method with which the quantity information in infrastructure plans can be exported to cost calculation software.
What kind of problem did this project try to solve?
Data model based infrastructure design refers to the designing of road, street and transport networks by creating a three-dimensional format of the overall data of the process’s entire life cycle.
However, there are many aspects of data model based infrastructure design that need improvement. The biggest problem is that quantity information in a data model based infrastructure plan cannot be exported to the Fore application, which is used for managing the value of infrastructure assets and controlling the costs of infrastructure projects.
Instead, designers must generate quantity information using the data model based Inframodel (LandXML) transfer format, in addition to Excel-based quantity lists.
Entering the information requires a great deal of manual effort from the designer, due to which quantity measurements and cost estimates are often conducted after the design process rather than in conjunction with it. This at least partly explains cost overruns in construction projects.
Objective: improving the data flow between cost calculation and design software
The main objective of this development project was to pilot a method with which quantity information in data model based infrastructure plans can be sent through open interfaces to the Fore application for pricing, after which it is returned in the correct format to the design software.
Fore enables a project’s aims to be priced easily at the initial stage of the design process, when detailed designs are yet to be created. At a later stage of design, a detailed cost estimate can be made, including pricing for the design solutions and comparisons of different alternatives.
The greatest advantage of this development project comes from making cost control an integral part of design, improving the design process in a way that benefits the entire infrastructure industry.
Another benefit is the enriching of data during the design process if it is possible to use an input structure or other explanatory factors behind a building element to generate added value for the data model based infrastructure plan.
Our long-term vision is to develop a method to enable the cost estimate to be updated in real time as the infrastructure plans are updated. At the same time, the revised cost planning data would be transferred back to the data model based infrastructure plan through an open interface. This would immediately reveal the cost effects of any modifications. Real-time cost control could help achieve significant cost savings for the national economy.
People who design infrastructure, since the method piloted makes it quicker to prepare cost estimates and generate comparison material, as well as reducing the need for entering data manually.
Combining cost information with data model based infrastructure plans – description and piloting of an interface
Duration: 6 June–31 December 2017
Implemented by: Rapal Oy and Civilpoint Oy
Partners: The development work is steered and funded by the Finnish Transport Agency, the City of Helsinki, the City of Espoo, the City of Tampere, the City of Vantaa and the City of Turku. In addition, the project’s results are being reported to the buildingSMART Finland forum for BIM collaboration.
Kalle Häyrinen, Key Account Manager, Rapal
Tel. +358 45 7733 6066
Kirsi Lilja, Project Manager, Rapal
Tel. +358 40 73 86 342,